Top 4 considerations before relocating for home or work

Whether for work or lifestyle reasons, moving somewhere new can be an exhilarating change for the better. But there are financial and family considerations to make before packing up and heading interstate – or even overseas! So take the time to do some necessary planning in order to make relocating a positive shift.

Here are the top four things you should consider before relocating.

1. What’s motivating my decision to relocate?

For current homeowners seeking a change, answering the question “How much will it cost to sell and buy in the same market?” will be their top priority. But there’s much more to consider for the average Australian – especially those who aren’t yet on the property ladder. For example, the Australian home ownership dream has changed in recent years. With the rising cost of living and disruptions from the pandemic still having knock-on effects around the country, many are choosing to relocate interstate or internationally in search of a better – and more affordable – lifestyle.

According to data from our Real Home Shift report, finances are a common factor when making the decision to move, with affordability of property (37.6%) and the cost of living (33.3%) key motivators. Almost half (45.1%) also say the cost of living is increasing, and over a third (35.8%) believe the amenities and local services in their area have become overburdened.

“The Real Insurance research has also captured some other quite recent and emerging trends that are being noticed by housing researchers,” says Chris Leishman, Professor of Property and Housing Economics at the University of South Australia. “For example, they found that a sizeable group of younger Australians are now ranking greater indoor and outdoor living space, stability and security, lifestyle issues and overall wellbeing, more strongly than other factors such as housing affordability and even the prospect of entering home ownership.”

Whether it’s for more stability in your life, or simply to get your foot on the property ladder, make sure you understand your reasoning before making the move.

2. What type of lifestyle do I want from my new home?

Seeking a better lifestyle is a key driver for many relocators. In some instances work may be the main factor, but what we are seeing in a post-pandemic world is that many Australians want more than what they are currently getting from their home. That could mean a sea-change to a cheaper suburb interstate, or a change of scenery that offers a lifestyle more aligned to their long-term wants.

“Australians are very mobile in general, and previous Real research shows that mobility or relocation are heavily driven by employment choices and training or study,” Professor Leishman says. “What we are seeing in this latest survey from Real Insurance is very clear support for the emergence of lifestyle-driven relocation decisions. Such choices were beginning to emerge before the pandemic, but living through COVID-19 seems to have strongly energised a growing cohort of Australians who highly value some of the attributes offered by living in regional locations.”

3. What do career opportunities look like?

Making a big move interstate can be scary for a number of reasons, particularly when it comes to career opportunities. Are you able to transfer to a different office at your current job? If not, do you have the financial security to go without work for weeks, or perhaps even months, whilst you secure new work? Or if you are moving overseas, you will need to consider what type of visa requirements will you have to undertake?

The good news is that the pandemic has accelerated the idea that most workers can – and should be able to – work from anywhere in the world so long as they have an internet connection. Aside from a few core industries, such as construction and retail, or wherever individuals must work on-site in order to perform their duties, many industries are seeing the value of the hybrid and digital workplace. If you can take advantage of this shift, it may be the incentive to make the move without risking your career.

4. Are my finances in order?

For homeowners, selling their property and buying a new home will play a major part in their decision to relocate. Maybe you want to take advantage of high sale prices in your current city and move to a larger home in a regional area. Whatever the case, buying a new property comes with its own considerations. But you don’t necessarily have to buy a property after you relocate.

“The Baby Boomer generation strongly associated financial stability in retirement with home ownership and were determined to become homeowners as soon as possible,” Professor Leishman says. “There is evidence that younger generations see things differently. They value health, wellbeing and lifestyle more highly, but they do still want financial stability – it’s just that they are no longer as convinced that this can only be achieved through home ownership.”

Could relocating give you more freedom?

Some of the biggest reasons behind relocating are that you want to save money, get more freedom and reduce your stress – all without having to settle for less. So take the time to consider what this move will entail, and be realistic about what you will need to do today to enjoy a better tomorrow.

Before you move, sit down and review the most important financials – your income, savings, predicted expenses for the move – and then build a budget to clarify how much relocation will actually end up costing you. This is also a good time to look at home insurance and life insurance, as any major lifestyle change may require you to update your policies.